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Pan Borneo: State Govt steps in
Published on: Saturday, September 08, 2018

Tenom: The State Government will restructure the Pan Borneo Highway project in Sabah to prevent leakage of funds during its implementation.

State Infrastructure Development Minister Datuk Peter Anthony (pic) said the restructure will involve handing over the implementation of the project to the Public Works Department, State Finance Ministry and State Economic Planning Unit. He said the three agencies were previously not involved in the project implementation.

According to Peter, he had met Federal Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng twice regarding the State Government's decision to hand it over to the three agencies.

"He expressed confidence that the restructuring can save RM1.5 billion of the people's money that we reported recently," said the Melalap Assemblymen after inspecting several village roads in his constituency.

Earlier this week, Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad had said that the Federal Government would investigate the project's delay in Sabah despite funds already being channelled.

He said the Government would be investigating where the huge amount of funds had gone.

Meanwhile, the Federal Works Ministry will take immediate steps by working with the Sabah Government to further evaluate the delays in the construction of the Pan Borneo Highway project in the State.

Its Minister Baru Bian said the Ministry was seriously concerned about Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad's statement regarding delays of the project in Sabah.

He revealed in a statement that 12 work packages have so far been appointed with contractors (work package contractor - WPC) in various stages of the construction, with progress between 1 and 37 per cent.

"The Ministry found that there are three main factors contributing to the construction delay, including land acquisition, inadequate supply (construction materials, manpower and construction machinery) and delay in payment process in resolving technical issues," he said.

He said land acquisition is a jurisdiction of the Sabah Government through the Lands and Surveys Department. Considering the large scale of work involved in land acquisition, Baru said the department has been taking efforts to improve and speed up the process without neglecting procedures and taking into account the interests and rights of affected landowners. He noted that the large scale of the project in Sabah has caused constraints in terms of inadequacy in supply of building materials, skilled and semi-skilled labour, as well as construction machinery equipment.

Baru said to overcome this, the Government has directed the project delivery partner (PDP) to discuss and coordinate with WPCs to find and recommend an alternative method to address this problem.

"Recently, the Government resolved some technical issues for payment to WPC through PDP. It is expected that the delay in the payment process will be avoided in the future," he said, adding that payments to WPCs through the PDP will only be made after the claims have been reviewed and approved by the Government.

Meanwhile, Peter said his Ministry will go around the State to identify critical problems involving roads, bridges and clean water.

He said the Ministry will be visiting 25 districts after Tenom.

In Tenom, he said, the problem identified was clean water supply, especially in two government clinics which have been depending on gravity water all this while.

He also said following the visit, the Ministry will replace all wooden bridges in the district with concrete ones as well as repair and upgrade many roads. He said all the projects will be implemented either at the end of this year or early next year.

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